Tag Archives: moral dilemmas


One of my acquaintances was complaining about a story rejection the other day, wondering why he bothers to continue writing in the face of years of rejection. His conclusion was to doubt himself, saying that he doesn’t think he has the talent to succeed. I doubt that’s true.

But I sympathize. Hell, I even empathize with the “plight” of the SF world’s Sad Puppies, which is, or was initially, about lack of recognition.

It’s the same thing. But the Puppies’ thing got perverted until the original kernel was lost, unrecognizable.

I understand that, too. It’s easy enough to be bitter about things like that. I don’t even get recognized in my own home. I have responsibilities that mean I can’t get in a full day’s work during working hours, and a medical condition that means that I rarely have the energy to do it later…hell, since I got sick four years ago, I barely feel like a part of humanity. The meds help to keep that comfortably numb feeling, to turn the other cheek, and keep on keepin’ on as life goes further and further into the shitter.

But self-pity isn’t the point here. I recognize that, like I recognize the gray-haired figure that greets me in the bathroom mirror every day when I get up.

Or is it? Is that sense of self-worth so tied to the idea that other people confer it? So that when you don’t even get a smidgen of grudging respect, it eats at you, turns you bitter, exacerbating the problem?

Nah. Couldn’t be.

Not me, says you, mixing tenses and personae most disagreeably. I’m not responsible for what other people think, nor do I care.

You can even begin to believe something like that. People have weird ways to care, and to show that they care–because they’re all screwed up by life, the same as you are, I am, we are, he says, twisting his fingers in a strange rhumba.

Getting warm, maybe? Close to the mark?

Everyone’s got some bully in them, I think. People are seldom merciful in a position of power, seldom noble. Instead what we get is a collection of petty tyrants who bull ahead in their own self-interest and then judge other people as if they held the moral high ground, and refuse to concede that there might be any wrongness in their quests for the elusive bluebird of personal satisfaction.

And YOU have to compensate for them, aid them in their quest. Or absent yourself from the proceedings.

They have planted an OB on you, says EF Russell. And it’ll take time and patience to worm your way out of it. Or drastic measures.

Root for the tough guy who saves the day. Suck it up, bide your time until you have your moment. Be ever-vigilant for your opportunity. There’s always tomorrow…

But tomorrow is promised to nobody.